Capital 6 theatre location to be new 42 storey tower – 372 units, 284 parking stalls

Friday, September 29th, 2006

City grants Wall Financial Corp. largest cultural-amenity density bonus in history

Ashley Ford

Demolition of Vancouver’s Capital 6 Theatre paves the way for an improved Orpheum. SAM LEUNG — THE PROVINCE

The ungodly hammering noise of workers demolishing the old Capital 6 Theatre is “music” to the ears of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and music lovers.

It marks the start of Capitol Residences, a 42-storey condominium tower complex at 819 Seymour that brings with it 45,000 square feet of vitally needed space for the Orpheum Theatre and the VSO, without hitting up taxpayers.

It is yet another coup for Peter and Bruno Wall of Wall Financial Corp., the majority partner, and Rob Macdonald of Macdonald Development Corp.

Throw in the thinking of VSO chairman Art Willms, who dreamed up the idea, and the result is the city will end up with an exciting downtown cultural amenity.

The city played its part in actually making it happen by granting the largest cultural-amenity density bonus in its history.

Bruno Wall said the cultural amenities will cost $20 million, including $1.9 million that will be set aside to cover operating costs.

“It is a turnkey deal,” he said. “When it is finished, we will hand over the keys and the fully completed space is theirs,” he said.

That space will include a 6,497-square-foot extension of the Orpheum Theatre stage, a 14,514-square-foot rehearsal room and a 24,005-square-foot music school.

A further bonus is that the Orpheum will get its own off-Seymour truck-loading bay, thus removing at least one downtown traffic annoyance. Currently, trucks have to park on Seymour to load and unload.

In return, the developers get an additional 248,192 square feet of density, making the whole project financially viable.

All involved pay tribute to Willms, the former pipeline-company executive, for his imagination.

Willms has said it was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to enhance the quality of downtown life, provide increased educational programs and give VSO members the opportunity to increase their earnings through teaching.

In an interview yesterday, Peter Wall said he became interested in the project because he has long supported the VSO, music and art in the city.

“The main reason was to help the VSO, which I have long liked and supported, and hopefully this will also help them make some money along the way,” he said.

It is not the first time Wall has gone to bat for the arts-and-music sector. He helped get the restoration of the Stanley Theatre on Granville Street off the ground some years ago. “I like projects like this because they are fun to do and you give something back to the city,” Wall said.

Macdonald, who started the zoning process, said “Willms was the catalyst. He had the vision that got the whole thing going.”

“Again, this shows Peter Wall can create a win-win situation for everyone involved — the developers, city, VSO and those who will live there,” said Bob Rennie of Rennie Marketing Systems, who works closely with Peter Wall.

The Howard Bingham Hall-designed glass-clad elliptical tower will house 372 units and 284 parking spots.

The Wall philosophy of providing as much affordability in his downtown projects as possible will be incorporated into the tower.

Lower-priced suites ranging in size from 550 square feet to 1,100 square feet will be available from the 30th floor down.

The upper floors will cater to

higher-end buyers with larger units, air conditioning, high ceilings and commanding city views.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2009.

© The Vancouver Province 2006


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